Networking and making connections- tips for Financial Math students

Are you an introvert? Are you shy? Are you nervous talking and meeting professionals? Many Financial Math students have answered yes to these questions.


Networking and making connections can be scary. What do I say? What if they do not like me or want to talk to me? Networking and making meaningful connections is essential to increase your chances of landing an interview for a job opportunity. Here are some tips:

Plan a time limit. By setting a time limit, the event will not seem like an unending activity. Being around people can deplete your energy and that can make networking events uncomfortable. Plan to rest before and after networking events so you have energy while you are attending the event.

Set a goal. Give yourself a goal on how many people you want to have meaningful conversations with. This provides purpose and helps you to focus on talking to the right people rather than talking to everyone.

Understand your fear. When you understand what part of networking brings you anxiety, you can isolate the specifics and find resources to help reduce the fears. If needed, you can ask for help and alleviate stress from the next tip...

Bring a friend. You may feel more comfortable attending networking events if there is someone who can support you. They may also share the same anxieties and together you can work to overcome those fears. Just remember to not only talk to your friend.

Focus on the other person. Divert attention from yourself by asking questions to put focus on their career stories, experiences and advice. This will help to reduce your stress, and provide you the information you are seeking.

Finally, smile. 🙂 People who attend networking events are there to help others or gain advice and help for themselves. They want to meet you!

Bloomberg terminal for Financial Math students

By Xiaohong Chen, May 2015 Graduate, Financial Math Intern & Career Ambassador

The Bloomberg Terminal is a computer system provided by Bloomberg that enables professionals in finance and other industries to access Bloomberg Professional services through which users can monitor and analyze real-time financial market data and place trades on the electronic trading platform. Most large financial firms have subscriptions to the Bloomberg Professional service.  I am please to tell everyone that last spring NC State's Financial Math program received a Bloomberg Terminal!

So you may ask- what could you do with this Bloomberg Terminal? I have listed three most important features students may have interest in:

1) Market data: The most well-known function of Bloomberg terminal is the real-time financial market data, namely security values. This includes the data for stocks, fixed-income securities, derivatives, and foreign exchange. This function is powerful that one can even view historical pricing, read a description of the business, and view analyst reports.

2) News: The Bloomberg terminal can offer you the real-time news. By typing “NEWS” in the search bar, one can get the latest financial or non-financial news headlines from all over the world. The Bloomberg terminal also has job search function built inside of it. And you can filter by position and location to help pinpoint the right career that suits your needs.

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3) Education: If you are a beginner, don’t worry because Bloomberg terminal offers a lots of ways to help you learn it. You can choose to take Bloomberg Essentials Online Training program, which is designed to provide users with an introduction to the Bloomberg Professional Service. You can also find other seminars and events in Bloomberg University. And when you have no idea about how to use a terminal properly, Bloomberg services offers free help via phone and IM chat 24 hours a day.

Current students- are you excited about it? Don’t wait. Just go and play around with this powerful tool, and you will find more surprising features.

Join our new workshop- “Introduction to Financial Risk”

NC State's Financial Math program has partnered with 2004 Alumnus, Jonathan Leonardelli, to create a new workshop series "Introduction to Financial Risk" for all NC State students and faculty. The workshop is also opened to the public.

Students and faculty in Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Finance, Operations Research, MBA and other related programs are welcome to join!

Here is what you will learn:

Risk Workshop Overview

Presenter information:

Jonathan Leonardelli, FRM, MFM

Jonathan Leonardelli, Risk Consultant at the Financial Risk Group, specializes in credit and market risk management. Over the course of his career he developed a diverse knowledge of retail banking risk as well as the technical skills needed to integrate risk assessment processes into a company’s business and technology infrastructure.

Jonathan’s career started with positions in the credit risk groups at Wells Fargo (Wachovia) and BB&T. In these positions, he developed expertise in acquisitions and portfolio risk management.  In his current position, Jonathan develops and implements processes that provide quantitative risk assessment and reporting capabilities for clients that include banks, hedge funds, and asset management companies.

Jonathan is an experienced presenter and author.  He is a certified SAS® Risk Dimensions Instructor. His papers in financial risk management covered topics such as the Dodd-Frank Act and its implications for risk professionals, as well as techniques for handling missing data. He has also authored a Webinar for the Insurance & Finance SAS® Users Group (IFSUG) regarding loss estimation using roll rate matrices.

Jonathan holds an Masters of Financial Mathematics from North Carolina State University and is a member of the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

FRM designation since 2010

SAS Certified Advanced Programmer for SAS 9


Those interested- please contact Leslie Bowman, Director of Career Services- 

Workshop begins Friday, September 5th 2014- registration deadline, August 28th. 

Test drive the Quantitative Finance BETA site from Stack Exchange

Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for finance professionals and academics. This website covers questions on real-life problems you face such as:

  • securities valuation
  • risk modeling
  • market microstructure
  • portfolio management
  • financial engineering
  • econometrics

And this is not a discussion forum...Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange is all about answers. Pretty straight forward- Ask a question, get an answer! Great resource to check out while it is in BETA.

Other resources for Quantitative Finance:

1. is a quantitative financial portal created by Paul Wilmott. One can find job postings, technical articles, up-to-date news, and other useful resources.

2. QuantStart

QuantStart is a personal website discussing Algorithmic Trading strategy research, development, backtesting and implementation. The author behind this website once worked in a hedge fund as a quantitative trading developer in London. Therefore, his articles are very practical. There are several articles on career development, which are very useful for those unfamiliar with the industry.

3. QuantLib

The QuantLib project is aimed at providing a comprehensive software framework for quantitative finance. QuantLib is a free/open-source library for modeling, trading, and risk management in real-life. It is written in C++ with a clean object model, and is then exported to different languages such as C#, Objective Caml, Java, Perl, Python, GNU R, Ruby, and Scheme.

4. Yahoo Finance

You can get free stock quotes, option prices, up to date news, portfolio management resources, international market data, message boards, and mortgage rates from here.

5. Data and Charts of U.S. Department of the Treasury

Great resource to find all kinds of interest rates related with the U.S. treasury.

6. QuantNet

It is a leading resource on Financial Engineering education and news, but the main focus is education. Quantnet provides detail information about Financial Engineering programs in North America.

By- Xiaohong Chen, Financial Math Intern, May 2015 Graduate

Database trends in financial services that quants should know


Recent trip to New York City included a small alumni meet-up and Data Summit 2014. At Data Summit 2014 we learned about several database trends in financial services well beyond the popular RDBMS (relational databases) including Hadoop Big Data Platforms, NoSQL, NewSQL, and in-memory databases.

Quants know SQL, and it's important for them to be aware of the above database trends and what's driving them in financial services - such as risk analytics and reporting, market data feeds, high frequency trading, regulation, among other use cases driving demand for high volume and scalable, specialized databases.  While many quants are proficient in programming, it's not reasonable to expect them to learn each programming language driving these technologies to access data (Erlang, Javascript, C#, Java, etc).  This is not unique to quants as we're seeing SQL enable wider adoption of the Hadoop Big Data Ecosystems.

Sumit Sarkar of Progress Software (Gold sponsor of our program) talks about how professionals such as those in quantitative finance can easily work with data in the growing landscape of highly specialized database technologies, MongoDB for example, using standard based SQL interfaces such as ODBC and JDBC.


(Alumni Left to Right- Emmanuel Sanchez with Allianz; Director of Career Services, Leslie Bowman; Yoshi Funabashi with Credit Suisse; Brandon Blevins with Credit Suisse)

Keep a lookout for their  "Meet our Financial Math Alumni" interviews.

We will be back again in October, 2014- so all NYC alumni, plan for another fun gathering!